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Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Have you ever come home to find that your dog has torn up a sofa cushion, chewed up some shoes, or strewn the contents of your garbage can across the floor? If so, your pup may have separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is one of the most common behavioral issues in our canine friends. Dogs with separation anxiety become nervous, frightened, or agitated when their owners are absent, and often act up in response. In this article, your local veterinarian Hamilton County discusses this common canine problem.

Causes

There are several different things that may cause your furry pal to develop separation anxiety. Traumatic or frightening experiences sometimes lead to separation anxiety. The loss of a close friend, whether human or animal, can also be a trigger. While any pooch can develop separation anxiety, some breeds tend to develop it more often than others do. Dogs that have been adopted from shelters also seem more prone to separation anxiety.

Symptoms

Many of the signs of separation anxiety are commonly misdiagnosed as bad behavior. Fido might pace, dig, chew, or bark when left alone. Some dogs will try to escape, while others may defecate inside the home. Your canine pal may also tear up the garbage, or destroy carpets or furniture. Although simple boredom will sometimes contribute to these habits, separation anxiety is likely the culprit if your furry pal only displays these behaviors when left alone.

Treatment

It may take time, but with patience and love, you can help your canine buddy deal with his anxiety. The exact method needed will depend on how severe your pup’s anxiety is. One thing that is often recommended is to avoid saying goodbye or hello to your furry buddy when you leave or arrive at home. This may only draw Fido’s attention to your impending departure, and make him even more anxious. Never punish a dog with separation anxiety, as you may just scare him or make him more uneasy, which can lead to further issues. Also, punishment may actually reinforce his behavior. Dogs crave attention from their humans, and sometimes our canine pals want attention so badly they will settle for negative attention. Instead, focus on rewarding positive behavior.

Please contact us any time you need veterinary care for your dog. As your veterinary clinic Hamilton County, we are here to help with all of your pet care needs!

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